FTX in talks to become first NBA naming rights partner

Cryptocurrency trading exchange FTX is ‘getting closer’ to tying down the naming rights to Miami Heat’s AmericanAirlines Arena, according to the Miami Herald.

The firm, headed up by Sam Bankman-Fried, would become the first Bitcoin or blockchain-backed digital currency exchange to partner with a major professional sports venue in the US as it continues to hold talks with Miami-Dade County.

According to the report by the American daily newspaper, the domain ftxarena.com has been purchased by an unidentified user, whilst social media accounts under the name of FTX Arena on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have all been created ahead of the proposed deal.

The County, which owns the facility and is legally responsible for managing the naming rights to the home of the National Basketball Association (NBA) team, has been on the lookout for a new sponsor after American Airlines’ deal came to an end in 2019, despite the venue continuing to be known by its original moniker.

The previous agreement with the Texas-based airline, which spanned two decades from 1999, was said to be worth $2.1 million annually, although the terms of the potential contract with FTX have not been revealed.

At present, Miami-Dade County is required to pay the basketball franchise $2 million a year until a new naming rights sponsor can be secured, with the two sharing revenue despite the stadium being owned by the County.

FTX’s move into the sports industry is a timely one, as utilising cryptocurrency and tokens takes on a heightened importance for leagues and teams.